Eddie Izzard rows in Cambridge

James Burton 6 May 2011

Comedian Eddie Izzard this week rowed with members of Clare St Edmund college, as part of his tour to galvanise support for the YES! Campaign, ahead of yesterday’s referendum.

He has been a vocal proponent of the switching from From-Past-The-Post to Alternative Vote system.

Izzard said: “Never in the history of democracy in the United Kingdom have they asked us which way we’d like to vote.”

He stressed that voters had “one chance” to change the electoral system. “We can take this or we’re not going to get it back in our lifetime.”

Other celebrity Yes! Campaigners include Colin Firth Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and Helena Bonham Carter and Tony Robinson.

Robinson has argued “At every election millions of people see their votes count for nothing. AV will let us back the candidate we really believe in without fear of wasting our vote.”

The No Campaign has gained the endorsement from a number of high profile sports figures, including cricketer Darren Gough and double Olympic medallist James Cracknell.

Ron Dennis CBE Executive chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group, and another opponent of AV claimed: “To win is to achieve victory or finish first in a competition. In an election, as in a motor race, the competitor who comes in first should be victorious. We should keep the first past the post electoral system and be represented by election winners.”

In spite Izzard’s attempts, the results are widely expected to go in favour of the NO Campaign.

A local spokeswoman for the No to Av campaign said: “The Alternative Vote system is unwanted, unfair and – on top of this – far too expensive at a time when public finances are stretched.”

Counting will begin at 4pm today.

James Burton